Five Fast Font Facts


In print, many designers focus on shape, line, and color and neglect typography. We all know that text is one of the most crucial aspects of any print marketing collateral, as it provides the most information to the audience.  What you may not know is that neglected fonts are less likely to graduate high school, more likely to indulge in petty crime, and can frequently be found smoking and hanging out with the likes of Papyrus and Comic Sans.

Here are five fast font facts to keep your print refined, easy to read, and on the straight and narrow. 

1. When to use serif fonts 

Serif fonts contain extra strokes or flourishes at the ends of the letters to create an embellished, unified look much like the typesetting found on an old-fashioned typewriter. Fonts with serifs are especially useful for print, as they are more readable and allow the eye to tell the difference between letters when they’re close together. This makes them especially helpful when you have to deliver a large amount of text.

2. When to use sans-serif fonts

Sans-serif fonts forego the extra flourishes to create a simple, yet dynamic look. They’re typically used as headlines, since they catch the eye and create a natural contrast to any body text written in a serif font.  Sans serif typography can tire the eye more easily, so it’s not recommended for large bodies of text.  

3. How to fancy up your fonts

It is always a good idea to use the bold or italic version of a font whenever it is available instead of relying on your design software to create the bold or italic effect. This ensures the greatest degree of accuracy in the final printed product and helps to prevent any distortion that might occur when altering a font using bold or italic settings. 

4. Printing fonts with four-color process

When printing in four-color process, four different layers of ink (CMYK) are used to create the final image. If the registration of the printing plates doesn't line up perfectly, there can be an “aura” of color around your text if the font is 12 point size or smaller. Even a white font created using unprinted stock against a printed color background may end up with this effect.

You may be able to avoid this problem by using black: setting cyan, magenta and yellow levels to 0% with black at 100%. This ensures that the text will only receive a single pass of black color rather than four individual passes of color.

5. Printing fonts with PMS ink

Since PMS printing uses pre-mixed ink, it is a safer bet for smaller font sizes and text in general. The color aura effect present in four-color process will not be a problem when printing color typography in PMS ink. You may even want to consider utilizing PMS spot printing on your four-color design to ensure crisp, clear text.


Jenny Payne